John Fox strong in praise of Jay Cutler

Posted by Vic Ketchman, editor on November 24, 2015 – 2:55 pm

151124-conf-calls-650GREEN BAY — Jay Cutler appears to have played his way into the Bears’ future.

“He’s our quarterback and he hasn’t done anything performance wise to change that mindset,” Bears Head Coach John Fox told Packers media during a conference call on Tuesday. “He’s been all in from the minute we got here. There was an evaluation process, (and) a commitment contractually. He’s shown a lot of toughness to his teammates and the coaching staff. He’s worked very hard and he’s assumed a leadership role on that side of the ball and on the football team. I have nothing but praise for him at this point.”

Fox was noncommittal about Cutler’s future with the team in the days and weeks after Fox was named the team’s new head coach. Through 10 games this season, Cutler ranks in the middle of the league’s passer rankings. He’s completed 63.4 percent of his passes for 2,310 yards, 13 touchdowns, six interceptions and a 92.7 passer rating. He has played especially well since Week 4 of the season, in a stretch of the schedule that saw the Bears win four of seven games following an 0-3 start.

At 4-6, the Bears would need to beat the Packers on Thursday and get hot to compete for a wild-card playoff spot.

“We’re in the try-to-improve race. Each week we get to evaluate that. We came up short last week. On a short week our guys’ mindset is outstanding and that’s how we play the game,” Fox said. “The culture here is improving and that starts with the players.”

At question for this game is the availability of Bears running back Matt Forte and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. They were limited in practice on Tuesday after missing this past Sunday’s game against the Broncos. A short week of preparation is making it difficult for both teams to recover from injury and soreness.

Packers running back Eddie Lacy is coming off a 22-carry effort that has him fighting through a nagging ankle injury. Lacy reached the 100-yard mark this past Sunday for the first time this season.

“Balance is critical because you don’t want to become one-dimensional. We struggled a little bit this last week against Denver vs. the run, so I’m sure we’ll get a dose of it on Thursday,” Fox said.

The two teams met in the season opener in Chicago, the Packers winning, 31-23.

“I think we have gotten better, as you’d expect. Both teams have changed a little bit, personnel wise and play wise,” Fox said. He attributed his defense’s improvement to “More comfort in the scheme … you play faster.”

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